News Flash – 22 July 2019

National News

 

 

Most ATM fraud cases in country recorded in State

 

 

New Delhi: The highest number of cases of ATM fraud in 2018-19 has been reported from Maharashtra, with the national capital coming in second place, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data has revealed. These incidents involving amounts of Rs 1 lakh or more were reported by the banks to RBI. The data, accessed by TOI, showed that Maharashtra had 233 cases, while 179 were reported from Delhi. In the capital, people lost around Rs 2.9 crore to these frauds. Only Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu lost more money than Delhi at Rs 4.81 crore and Rs 3.63 crore, respectively. The number of incidents also showed a steep rise from 2017-18, when the banks reported 132 cases of ATM frauds in Delhi, involving a total amount of Rs 2.8 crore. The country witnessed an increase in ATM fraud cases in general (up from 911 to 980). Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura were the only three states that didn’t report a single incident. However, the money lost came down from Rs 65.3 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 21.4 crore in 2018-19.

 

 

Police and cybercrime experts, however, said that this was just the tip of the iceberg as amounts of less than Rs 1 lakh were not considered for the data. They said crooks were now employing various means to get control of people’s bank accounts through ATM or debit cards. The most commonly used trick is installing skimmer devices on ATMs and point-of-sale machines, which are then used to fraudulently copy data from cards. This data is then put on blank cards and illegal transactions are carried out. Delhi Police has also found several gangs active in the city who target ATMs where security is not adequate. These gangs target gullible people who come to use the ATM. On the pretext of helping them out, crooks often exchange their cards and then empty the account later. Online frauds are a major concern, too. Crooks posing as customer care agents of banks often fool people into revealing confidential data. Some fraudsters have even set up fake websites, which come up during internet search. People are then targeted when they call the ‘customer care’ numbers mentioned on these websites.

 

 

Blaze-Hit Building in Colaba Evacuated

 

Mumbai: The area around Taj Mahal Palace hotel, especially Merewether Road on which Churchill Chambers lies, is of great historical and maritime significance. Having played host to naval and merchant sailors from around the world, it is a confluence of global architectural and culinary influences. Churchill Chambers, like the other buildings on the street, was built under the Apollo Reclamation (south of the Fort area) Scheme, which facilitated the erection of buildings like Taj Mahal Hotel, Yacht Club, and later Gateway of India. Historian Deepak Rao, who recalls cycling along Merewether Road as a child back in the ’60s, says the building housed many Jews and Anglo Indians who were working for the Bombay Port Trust. “So, the building’s landlord isn’t the BMC but the Bombay Port Trust,” says Rao. But BMC officials said that the building is a privately-owned Mhada cessed building. Mhada engineers later visited the site. “The buildings on Merewether Road are century-old structures with good urban design or uniform mass, scale or arcade below. The style can be classified as colonial hybrid, which means they have mixed elements of renaissance revival and some vernacular accents,” said conservation architect Vikas Dilawari.

 

 

The building, on Merewether Road, has a six-storey extension, which remained unaffected by the blaze, though power supply to both wings was disconnected and all residents asked to vacate the premises till the complex was declared safe. The residents moved in with relatives, friends or went to hotels. The victim of the blaze, Shyam Aiyar (50), along with his family members, started to rush down for safety, but went back to douse the flames and got trapped, said a fire officer. He was found by firefighters two hours later, in a critical condition, and shifted to G T Hospital, where he was declared dead. A fireman, Bhurmal Patil, complained of suffocation during firefighting operations. Fire officials said the building’s third floor has been badly affected by the blaze, which spread down till the stairwell on the second floor. “It was by luck that one of our vehicles was in the area on routine inspection. Thus, we could respond to the fire call without any waste of time,” said chief fire officer P S Rahangdale. “Fortunately, no grills had been fitted on the windows of the flats, which helped us save many lives”. A couple of residents said that after realizing that the building was on fire, they rushed down to safety, alerting others on the way. Suresh Kesarwani, who lives on the fourth floor of the building’s extension, said, “Smoke quickly started to spread in both wings. We rushed down, along with family members, knocking on every door we passed by. All the residents in our wing came out safely, but many people were trapped on the top floor of the main wing, which has a separate entry”.

 

 

Another resident of the extension, Rohit Kadam, went along with firemen in search of Aiyar, the fire’s victim, after his wife informed them that he was inside the building. Kadam, who knows the building’s layout well, said, “I and another resident went along with the fire brigade team. Thick smoke was everywhere, amid which the firefighters started to look for Kadam all over the third floor. They found him at one corner in serious condition and he was breathing”. Rahangdale, who went to the spot after hearing that people were trapped inside, said, “No firefighting system was in place in the building. We were told that Aiyar went back to fight the blaze and was missing. We found him in a critical state at the back corner of his flat, where the fire was intense”. Deputy commissioner of police (zone I) Sangramsingh Nishandar said the police have registered an accidental death report, he ruled out the possibility of foul play. This is not the first major blaze in Colaba in recent years. In June 2016, a massive fire broke out at the crowded, century-old Metro House on Colaba Causeway. However, firefighters managed to evacuate everybody in the building before the flames could reach its wooden staircase.

 

 

Bulgarian Clones Card to withdraw Rs.40000, held

 

 

Mumbai: Bandra police on Sunday arrested a Bulgarian national for stealing the debit card details of a 30-year-old bank employee and using them to clone her card and withdraw Rs40,000. The victim found out the ATM kiosk from where the withdrawals had been made and submitted closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage to the cops. Milan Evano Dwaranaski (44) was nabbed when he revisited the Bank of India ATM on SV Road, Bandra (West), on July 20 night. Police have seized at least 15 plain white plastic cards similar in dimensions to debit or credit cards. “Dwaranaski has clammed up, claiming he does not know English,” said sub-inspector Bhimsen Gaikwad. The accused arrived in Mumbai on May 30 on a tourist visa and has been residing in Andheri (East). Probe is on to find out if he is part of a bigger racket.

 

 

Bandra police senior inspector, Girish Anavkar, said the bank employee got a slew of text alerts on July 18 midnight. Four transactions of Rs10,000 were carried out from her bank account though the debit card was with her. The woman immediately blocked the card. She later got CCTV footage of the ATM from where the withdrawals had been made. Based on the footage, a police team kept a watch at the kiosk for 24 hours. When Dwaranaski walked in, they immediately recognized the accused and nabbed him. “The accused may be part of a racket that steals card details and PIN numbers by fitting a skimmer in the ATM machine. The other possibility is the accused is part of an online hacker group that sends mails seeking card details claiming the system is undergoing upgradation and steals card details to clone cards,” said a police officer.

 

 

Delhi Lost Rs.2.9 Crores to ATM Frauds in a Year

 

New Delhi: The capital reported 179 cases of ATM frauds in 2018-19, the second highest in the entire country, Reserve Bank of India data has revealed. These incidents involving amounts of Rs 1 lakh or more were reported by the banks to RBI. The data, accessed by TOI, showed that only Maharashtra saw more cases than Delhi (233). In the capital, people lost around Rs 2.9 crore to these frauds. Only Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu lost more money than Delhi at Rs 4.81 crore and Rs 3.63 crore, respectively. The number of incidents also showed a steep rise from 2017-18, when the banks reported 132 cases of ATM frauds in Delhi, involving a total amount of Rs 2.8 crore. The country witnessed an increase in ATM fraud cases in general (up from 911 to 980). Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura were the only three states that didn’t report a single incident. However, the money lost came down from Rs 65.3 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 21.4 crore in 2018-19. Police and cybercrime experts, however, said that this was just the tip of the iceberg as amounts of less than Rs 1 lakh were not considered for the data. They said crooks were now employing various means to get control of people’s bank accounts through ATM or debit cards.

 

 

The most commonly used trick is installing skimmer devices on ATMs and point-of-sale machines, which are then used to fraudulently copy data from cards. This data is then put on blank cards and illegal transactions are carried out. Delhi Police has also found several gangs active in the city who target ATMs where security is not adequate. These gangs target gullible people who come to use the ATM. On the pretext of helping them out, crooks often exchange their cards and then empty the account later. Online frauds are a major concern, too. Crooks posing as customer-care agents of banks often fool people into revealing confidential data. Some fraudsters have even set up fake websites, which come up during internet search. People are then targeted when they call the ‘customer care’ numbers mentioned on these websites. Delhi Police’s Cyber Prevention Awareness and Detection (CyPAD) centre is, meanwhile, grappling with a number of issues, including lack of trained manpower to deal with the criminals who appear to be one up on them at every step.


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